Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Research Papers in Economics,
Stockholm University, Department of Economics

No 2011:25: Under the influence of traumatic events, new ideas, economic experts and the ICT revolution - the economic policy and macroeconomic performance of Sweden in the 1990s and 2000s

Lennart Erixon ()
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Lennart Erixon: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The new economic-policy regime in Sweden in the 1990s included deregulation, central-bank independence, inflation targets and fiscal rules but also active labour market policy and voluntary incomes policy. This article describes the content, determinants and performance of the new economic policy in Sweden in a comparative, mainly Nordic, perspective. The new economic policy regime is explained by the deep recession and budget crisis in the early 1990s, new economic ideas, EU integration and the power of economic experts. In the 1998-2007 period, Sweden displayed relatively low inflation and high productivity growth, but unemployment was high, especially by national standards. The restrictive monetary policy was responsible for the low inflation and the dynamic ICT sector was decisive for the productivity miracle. Furthermore, productivity increases in the ICT sector largely explains why the Central Bank undershot its inflation target in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The new economic-policy regime in Sweden performed well during the global financial crisis. However, as in other OECD countries the moderate increase in unemployment was largely attributed to labour hoarding. And the rapid recovery of the Baltic countries made it possible for Sweden to avoid a bank crisis.

Keywords: Swedish model; Swedish economic policy; Swedish Central Bank; economic experts; Sweden’s macroeconomic performance; financial crisis; new economic-policy regime

JEL-codes: D78; E24; E31; E58; E62; E63; E64; J51; N14; O47; O50

98 pages, August 30, 2011

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